Zenith Phase One
Morrison madness, price now more modest
Release Date: 23 October
112 pages ( hardback) | £ 20 Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Steve Yeowell Publisher: Rebellion
Zenith has long
been regarded as one of the jewels in 2000 AD’s crown. This acid house alternative to Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns proved to be one of the best cape comics of the ’ 80s.
It has, however, had a spotty publishing history, with legal quibbles preventing it being reprinted until last year when Rebellion put out a lavish ( and extravagantly priced) collected edition. Now here is the first of four affordable hardbacks, which separate the story into its constituent “phases”.
Robert McDowell – aka Zenith – is a pop star with powers. Vain and superficial, he’s more concerned with selling records than saving lives. It’s not long, however, before a Nazi superman starts causing havoc and Rob finds himself teaming up with a group of washed- up heroes and an avaricious Tory MP to fight back.
Zenith may be nearly 30 now, but it still feels fresh. Bright and funny, while shot through with a vein of cynicism, it reads like an early draft of some of Grant Morrison’s later, more ambitious work. His regular tropes are all present and correct – occultism, extra- dimensional beings, pop- culture references – but Zenith is fleeter of foot, no doubt partly due to the restrictions of 2000 AD’s episodic format. Steve Yeowell’s ( mostly black and white) art, meanwhile, grounds extraordinary events in the everyday. Phase One isn’t quite Zenith in its prime, but this is still an essential introduction to the series. Will Salmon
Harry Styles can’t do that. We think.
Even the ink is mind- bending.